No Country for Honest Men: Political Philosophers and Real Politics



There are limits on the duty to tell the truth. Sometimes, because of the undesirable consequences of honesty, we are morally required not to reveal certain truths and can even be required to lie. In this article, we explore the implications of this uncontroversial claim for the practice of political philosophers. We argue that, given the consequences of misunderstandings and misrepresentations that might occur, political philosophers will sometimes be under a moral duty not to disseminate their research and, in highly exceptional cases, have a moral duty to lie outright.